What’s better than a Flourish Friday? A Flourish Friday that kicks off a new extension of the How I Flourish blog series!
Today, I’m excited to share the first feature in the How I Flourish in Iowa series. After more than five months of sharing Des Moines-based female business owner stories, these weekly profiles will now also highlight inspiring women across Iowa building businesses and making an impact in their communities, both local and online.
Interested in learning more about this new series? You can read up on How I Flourish in Iowa here.
Want the scoop on the original How I Flourish in Des Moines blog series, that will continue on? Read up on the first announcement.
Today I’m thrilled to feature Iowa maker, Michelle Myers, and her business Dirt Road Candle Co.
Michelle makes some of the best candles around. Read on to learn how she turned a fun hobby into an Etsy-based business from the comfort of her farm.
Introducing Michelle Myers and Dirt Road Candle Co.
1. What is your business, and what do you do?
I am the owner of Dirt Road Candle Co. I make hand poured soy candles, wax melts & room sprays, I also offer “candle accessories” like wick trimmers and strike on the bottle matchsticks, and just recently release some car freshies!
Being a farm family in Iowa, we grow soybeans on our farm. It was important to me that I used soy wax in my candles not only to support what we grow ourselves, but because soy candles are cleaner and considerably less toxic than paraffin wax candles.
Dirt Road Candle Co. started as a hobby a few months after my fiance (now husband) and I had bought our first farm on a dirt road (you guessed it, that’s where the name came from!) I have always had a highly sensitive nose and slightly obsessive about things smelling good. Therefore, I have always loved candles! Long story short, I didn’t want the smell of the farm we loved so much in our home. I’m also a classic 4-H girl who can’t help but have a project or two to work on, so it was just a matter of time until Dirt Road Candle Co. came to life! 🙂
I started making candles the fall of 2016 to give as gifts to my friends and family for Christmas. They went over really well and my husband suggested selling them, so I got up the nerve one day to go into a local store in my hometown and ask if they would have any interest in selling my candles, and they did! So for a couple years I sold them on consignment at their shop.
In the meantime, I loved supporting small businesses and had been following a few Iowa makers on Instagram. About a year ago I decided it was time to invest money in my brand and go for it to join those makers! In May I launched my social media accounts and my Etsy page and I have been absolutely humbled at the number of people who have supported this venture, not to mention all the established makers in Iowa who have embraced me with open arms! It truly has been so much fun to connect with like minded women and get to know my customers better as well!
2. How long have you been in business?
Dirt Road Candle Co. started in September of 2016. I decided to really go for it and create social media accounts and sell online in May of 2018.
3. What sparked your interest in becoming a small business owner?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and have had multiple farm related businesses throughout my life. I wanted to do something creative and different that would allow me to connect with people and I feel like that’s what Dirt Road Candle is allowing me to do. In the past year I have gotten to connect with so many other talented and like-minded women who anywhere from stay at home moms to business owners themselves. While some days I am exhausted from the side-hustle, most days I am just really thankful that I am getting to be creative, help people smile a little more, and at the end of the day I’ve made some awesome friends!
4. What gap does your business fill?
I don’t know that I’m really filling any gaps with Dirt Road Candle Co., but I would like to think that I am bringing happy smells to people’s homes, and getting to show them just a glimpse of our farm life as well!
5. What do you enjoy most about operating a business in Iowa?
The best part, hands down about Dirt Road Candle Co. is the connections I’ve made in such a short amount of time. Not only with the other Iowa makers I have met, but also the people who are buying my products, and then go on to tell their friends about my products! Building relationships with people is one of my favorite things, and combine it with creating stuff that people love? Best job ever!
6. What is the best business-related advice you’ve received?
My dad has owned his own business for over 40 years, so most of my business acumen comes from him. I don’t know if I would call it advice, but he has definitely led by example. He (and my mom) are two of the hardest working people I know. My dad would never ask me (or any of his other employees) to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. I guess you could say I come from hard working humble roots and that’s some of the best business and life advice I could ever want.
7. What tip do you have for other women in business?
One of the best things that I think has helped me be successful, is to recognize what I am good at, and what I’m not when I’m looking at my business as a whole.
For example, I am not a design person. For two years I did my own designing, labeling, etc. and it was lacking. One of the best decisions I have made for my business to date is hiring someone to help me look really good, something I would be terrible at. While I could be the best at marketing my products, if the look didn’t follow that, they wouldn’t sell.
Another thing would be collaborate with others! We are better together! I absolutely love being able to collaborate with other makers to put together an amazing gift pack, or just bounce ideas off of each other!